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How Are Shipping Containers Sustainable?


With international trade deficits, it usually costs more to have a shipping container shipped back overseas rather than leaving it at its destination, and building a new one. The more we reuse shipping containers as elements of construction projects, the more we reduce the number of shipping containers without purpose, saving the environment from further pollution while creating aesthetically pleasing housing solutions. 

Shipping containers are made of corrugated steel or aluminum that can withstand rigorous conditions. They've been recycled as building blocks for hundreds of projects worldwide, such as residential homes, rental properties, apartment complexes, retail locations, coffee shops, office buildings, malls, schools, military, and oil industry facilities.

Using Shipping Containers for Commercial and Residential Properties


Shipping or cargo container design isn’t taught in colleges or university engineering programs. Because of this, many engineers hesitate to approve projects that incorporate them.

Design teams and engineerss at PSE Consulting Engineers, Inc. see the value shipping containers provide and have embraced the expertise and creativity needed to deliver structurally sound shipping container design. They understand that container structures, if designed and constructed correctly, are actually very safe, strong, and can be used for a variety of applications. 

Client: Morgan Estates

Architect: RAD Lab

Structural Engineers: PSE Consulting Engineers,

Nabil Taha Ph.D, PE (California), Caleb Sale, PE (Oregon)

Benefits of Recycling Shipping Containers for Home Construction

Shipping container homes offer notable benefits to the environment and homeowner:

Reduces Pollution

Giving shipping containers a new life as a home or building reduces metal and construction material waste, while the homeowner benefits from lower energy bills once inhabited.


Made with steel, single level homes can be self-supporting with beams and stout, and marine-grade plywood flooring already in place. They can withstand natural disasters and inclement weather


Termites, rodents, and other pests cannot infiltrate steel, protecting the building from infestations.


Container homes can generally be constructed quickly, often modularly, resulting in lower labor costs. You can build a home vertically or expand horizontally. It’s like building with giant LEGOs®.

Modern Design

Creating a home using shipping containers is creating art. Clean lines and colorful shipping container homes will be a discussion piece for you and your guests.


Since shipping containers are made from steel, they are inherently non-combustible. Nationwide, at least 6,000 people die in fires each year, and an additional 100,000 are injured in combustible wood homes.

The challenges of using shipping containers for building construction can be overcome by hiring the right engineers. Many designers feel limited by the predetermined dimensions of a shipping container, but creative experts like PSE Consulting Engineers can maximize the space with industry trade secrets they have developed.

Project Spotlight: ATX Container Haus


Check it out! PSE was proud to provide the structural engineering for this shipping  container guest-house in Austin, Texas in 2020.

Our client had a dream to turn it into a luxury AirBnB. Built out of a single shipping container, every detail was carefully designed to create the ultimate getaway, from
the minimalist aesthetic to the lounge chairs on the large covered deck and spa-inspired bathroom. The interior is approximately 360 sq. feet with a deck that’s 450 sq. feet.

This is a great example of how an empty shipping container can be transformed into a luxury getaway. The demand for shipping container homes has boomed, and we’re one of the few firms who will engineer them. Call us today to design yours!

Shipping/Cargo Container eBook – Free Download!

Complete the short form below and receive our “Starter Guide to Shipping/Cargo Container Structures eBook” free